History of the Church
The history of the church can be traced back to 1784 when early meetings took place in a member’s house. This quickly progressed to meeting in a barn for worship, and in 1815 – over 30 years after the first meetings – members were able to complete the building of a Chapel in the town.
Throughout the nineteenth century the church building was altered and improved to serve the growing membership. This included enlarging the vestry, adding a porch and replacing the organ.
A new chapel was built in 1905, taking the church into the twentieth century in modern new premises. During both world wars the church was used to maximum benefit of the local community as a Red Cross Hospital.
A complete refurbishment took place in 1997 following a fire the year before. A centenary celebration of the building took place in 2005. The church building will continue to develop and evolve to serve the needs of members as they strive to serve the name of Jesus in the town of St Ives.
In 2015 the congregation celebrated 200 years of Methodism in St Ives and embarked on a major refurbishment, aptly named ‘Project 200’, to improve the premises for current and future use.
Through a combination of grants and local generosity, we were able to install a new energy-efficient heating system and make the building more accessible to all, as well as incorporating environmental ideals and the creative arts.
We now have a base for innovative worship, hospitality, outreach and support for the whole community.
St Ives Methodist Church Heritage: 1815 to 1904 and 1905 to present
We feel that it is important to preserve the history of the church for future generations. Therefore, in 2018, the Heritage Group at SIMC set about collating the many loose pages, papers, photographs etc held in our Church Archives.
The information has now been organised and categorised into approximately 20 lever-arch files, kept safe and clean in punched plastic pockets. This will enable people to read the information as if they were reading a history book.
Information available in the files covers many aspects of church life, for example:
- Church Family (mainly photographs)
- Important events (e.g. the fire of 10th January 1996)
- Various Church Groups (e.g. Men’s Club, Open Circle, Open Door, Afternoon Fellowship)
- Copies of original property deeds, plans etc.
- P200 renovation project: 2015 – 2021
The Heritage Group is also updating the St Ives Methodist Church History Book, as well as researching the names on various plaques within the Church. We are still finding out new and interesting facts about the Church’s History. For example, in 1902, the church bought a plot of land which stretched from The Waits to West Street. It included several tenements at the back – where the Church car park is now- and two cottages at the front (numbers 2 and 3 The Waits, which were sold in 1942).
In recent years, we have participated in September National Heritage Weekends. For example, we arranged exhibitions on a variety of themes, such as Women in Methodism, Children in Methodism, and the back stories of names inscribed on the 1914/1918 World War I plaque.
We also have several items of interest including the original ‘silver key’ (the ceremonial key used to open the Church in 1905), medals, badges, trophies and other memorabilia.
All the interesting Heritage information about St Ives Methodist Church has now been put on display in a purpose-built cabinet in the Church. It means anyone visiting the Church will be able to see it.
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